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Benefits of glucosamine

glucosamine powder and capsules on a slate background
Find out the top glucosamine benefits, including how glucosamine may help aid joint health and reduce inflammation, in this article.

What are the benefits of glucosamine?

Found in many health shops across the country, glucosamine is a nutritional supplement that is often used to support joint health.1 But what actually is it? And what are some of the top glucosamine benefits? We'll dive into the detail in this article, so keep reading for more info.

What is glucosamine?

Before we explore some key glucosamine benefits, it’s worth us explaining what it is first. Naturally occurring in our bodies, glucosamine is an amino sugar made from glucose and glutamine.2 supplements are often extracted from shellfish like crabs, prawns and lobsters – but also from the cell membranes of mushrooms for a vegetarian friendly alternative.3

It plays a key role in creating essential building blocks in your joints, but we’ve got more on this below.4

What does glucosamine do?

The main role of glucosamine is to develop and look after the protective tissue (aka cartilage) that surrounds your joints. Supposedly, glucosamine protects a type of cell called chondrocytes which are said to help maintain the structure of your cartilage.5

What are some glucosamine benefits?

Thinking of trying glucosamine? Discover the top three glucosamine hydrochloride and glucosamine sulphate benefits below...

1. May support the healthy functioning of your joints

1. May support the healthy functioning of your joints

We've touched upon this already, but arguably the main benefit of glucosamine is that it supports normal joint function. This is believed to be down to the impact it has on cartilage, specifically proteoglycan production, of which glucosamine is a necessary component.3

In addition to this, it is important for the formation of components of synovial fluid, aka the liquid in the cavities of joints that reduce your cartilages and joints from rubbing together when you move.6

Interestingly, one study from 2019 on athletes found that taking glucosamine supplements every day for three months helped to decrease cartilage breakdown, which reinforces the idea that it has protective effects on joint tissue.7

2. May help with joint discomfort

Following on from the last point, if your joints are functioning properly it may help to reduce discomfort. In fact, one preliminary study from 2008 on the benefits of glucosamine and chondroitin together found that one group of participants experienced statistically significant reduction in joint discomfort compared to the placebo. Although, this was only the case for participants with moderate-to-severe discomfort.8  

A more recent meta-analysis of taking glucosamine and chondroitin for a certain type of joint condition concluded that glucosamine significantly helped with joint stiffness more than the placebo.9

3. May help with general inflammation

3. May help with general inflammation

Another reason why many people take glucosamine is to help with inflammation, and various studies suggest that it may possess anti-inflammatory properties.10,11

One small study from 2015 evaluated the effects of taking 1,500mg of glucosamine hydrochloride with chondroitin every day for 28 days on 18 overweight but healthy adults. Interestingly, they found that it lowered a key biomarker of inflammation (CRP) by 23% compared to the placebo.12

Summary: is glucosamine good for joints?

Based on the evidence we’ve mentioned, it appears that glucosamine can have a positive effect on joint health. But that doesn’t mean to say it’s the same for everyone. Also, before trying glucosamine supplements do speak to your GP or a medical professional for advice that is tailored to your personal health situation.

The final say

Whether you’re interested in taking glucosamine for joints or another reason, we hope you found our article useful. For more information like this, check out our vitamins & supplements articles on the Health Hub.

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